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Best Catch of the Season? Ocean Odyssey Crew Finds Missing Free Diver.

Sportfishing crews are not just adept at their trade of putting anglers on fish

After spending over four hours adrift at sea, missing free diver Alexandro Crosthaite is pulled aboard the Ocean Odyssey.
After spending over four hours adrift at sea, missing free diver Alexandro Crosthaite is pulled aboard the Ocean Odyssey.

Saltwater: Though today’s sportfishing vessels are equipped with the latest fish-finding and scanning technology, captains and crews often rely on ‘old school’ methods to give their passengers the best odds of putting fish on the deck. By naked eye or with the aid of binoculars, spotting a floating patch of kelp (kelp paddy), a pod of dolphin, or fish feeding on the surface is responsible for much of the yellowtail, tuna, and dorado caught offshore during the summer/fall pelagic season. Schools of feeding fish boiling or a cruising pod of dolphin are fairly easy to spot from a distance, but kelps and other debris that often have fish below can be difficult to see, especially when swell and wind obscures the surface.

In the open sea, baitfish will gather under kelp paddies, dead whales, and other floating objects in the attempt to escape predators. As our targeted gamefish tend to feed and strike by sight from beneath their prey, finding a spot out of the exposing sunlight can increase the odds of survival for a sardine or anchovy. Maybe. Gamefish are onto this maneuver and are often caught in the vicinity of any floating thing as small as a chunk of driftwood or as large as a blue whale. For that reason, captains and appointed lookouts are constantly watching for kelps or debris while searching for action for their clients. Anglers and predator species aren’t the only visitors of floating objects; free divers hunting gamefish will often dive on kelp paddies and watch for circling tuna or dorado to spear.

On Wednesday, July 28th, while on a 2.5-day trip out of H&M Landing, Ocean Odyssey captain Rick Scott and crew were straining their eyes while in the fishing grounds some 30 miles off Ensenada for something even harder to spot than a kelp paddy in the early afternoon glare and rolling swell; a person. Scott heard a call to the Coast Guard on the radio about a free diver who had become separated from his boat. The diver, Alexandro Crosthaite, had slipped into the water while the boat was still underway, and his father, the operator at the wheel of the small skiff, didn’t notice his son’s departure and kept going while scanning ahead for game or sign. By the time the father noticed the absence of his son, the latter was nowhere to be seen. Based on the approximate coordinates given, and factoring in current, Scott pointed the 85-foot Ocean Odyssey toward an area he thought the man might be.

Considering the possibility of hypothermia and given the diver was in a blue camouflage wetsuit, and even with the Coast Guard and Mexican Navy searching, the odds of finding the missing man alive were growing slimmer by the hour. Deckhand Chad Foster first spotted Crosthaite from the roof of the Ocean Odyssey wheelhouse, and some four hours after the initial call the free diver was pulled from the water in good health. Crosthaite had removed the top of his wetsuit to increase his odds of being seen, and though that may have hastened hypothermia, it paid off. Crosthaite swam to the offered life ring and with a little help boarded the vessel in good spirits. His first request was an ice-cold beer. He was transferred to a Coast Guard vessel and reunited with his father.

Sportfishing crews are not just adept at their trade of putting anglers on fish, they practice man overboard drills and lifesaving techniques for this very reason. The Ocean Odyssey, along with their most prized ‘catch’ of the season, finished the outing with 250 yellowtail, 8 bluefin tuna, and 1 dorado caught by the 25 paying anglers aboard.

Fish Plants: 8/6, Santee Lakes, catfish (1,000)

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After spending over four hours adrift at sea, missing free diver Alexandro Crosthaite is pulled aboard the Ocean Odyssey.
After spending over four hours adrift at sea, missing free diver Alexandro Crosthaite is pulled aboard the Ocean Odyssey.

Saltwater: Though today’s sportfishing vessels are equipped with the latest fish-finding and scanning technology, captains and crews often rely on ‘old school’ methods to give their passengers the best odds of putting fish on the deck. By naked eye or with the aid of binoculars, spotting a floating patch of kelp (kelp paddy), a pod of dolphin, or fish feeding on the surface is responsible for much of the yellowtail, tuna, and dorado caught offshore during the summer/fall pelagic season. Schools of feeding fish boiling or a cruising pod of dolphin are fairly easy to spot from a distance, but kelps and other debris that often have fish below can be difficult to see, especially when swell and wind obscures the surface.

In the open sea, baitfish will gather under kelp paddies, dead whales, and other floating objects in the attempt to escape predators. As our targeted gamefish tend to feed and strike by sight from beneath their prey, finding a spot out of the exposing sunlight can increase the odds of survival for a sardine or anchovy. Maybe. Gamefish are onto this maneuver and are often caught in the vicinity of any floating thing as small as a chunk of driftwood or as large as a blue whale. For that reason, captains and appointed lookouts are constantly watching for kelps or debris while searching for action for their clients. Anglers and predator species aren’t the only visitors of floating objects; free divers hunting gamefish will often dive on kelp paddies and watch for circling tuna or dorado to spear.

On Wednesday, July 28th, while on a 2.5-day trip out of H&M Landing, Ocean Odyssey captain Rick Scott and crew were straining their eyes while in the fishing grounds some 30 miles off Ensenada for something even harder to spot than a kelp paddy in the early afternoon glare and rolling swell; a person. Scott heard a call to the Coast Guard on the radio about a free diver who had become separated from his boat. The diver, Alexandro Crosthaite, had slipped into the water while the boat was still underway, and his father, the operator at the wheel of the small skiff, didn’t notice his son’s departure and kept going while scanning ahead for game or sign. By the time the father noticed the absence of his son, the latter was nowhere to be seen. Based on the approximate coordinates given, and factoring in current, Scott pointed the 85-foot Ocean Odyssey toward an area he thought the man might be.

Considering the possibility of hypothermia and given the diver was in a blue camouflage wetsuit, and even with the Coast Guard and Mexican Navy searching, the odds of finding the missing man alive were growing slimmer by the hour. Deckhand Chad Foster first spotted Crosthaite from the roof of the Ocean Odyssey wheelhouse, and some four hours after the initial call the free diver was pulled from the water in good health. Crosthaite had removed the top of his wetsuit to increase his odds of being seen, and though that may have hastened hypothermia, it paid off. Crosthaite swam to the offered life ring and with a little help boarded the vessel in good spirits. His first request was an ice-cold beer. He was transferred to a Coast Guard vessel and reunited with his father.

Sportfishing crews are not just adept at their trade of putting anglers on fish, they practice man overboard drills and lifesaving techniques for this very reason. The Ocean Odyssey, along with their most prized ‘catch’ of the season, finished the outing with 250 yellowtail, 8 bluefin tuna, and 1 dorado caught by the 25 paying anglers aboard.

Fish Plants: 8/6, Santee Lakes, catfish (1,000)

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